Writing a Post-Interview Thank You Letter

Have you ever had an awesome first date and really wanted a second one? If so, you may have texted your date a quick “Hey, that was a lot of fun, we should do that again sometime,” to hint that he/she should make future plans. That’s kind of how thank you letters work.

A thank you letter tells your potential employer that you are still very interested, you are not to be forgotten and you are the best candidate for the position, so he/she should definitely call you. Thank you letters also give you the opportunity to mention things that help your cause, but that you might not have had the chance to mention during the interview.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the beauty and sincerity of handwritten letters are no match for the timeliness of email. A single thank you letter via email is sufficient. If you feel compelled to write a second one by hand, then so much the better. Either way, here is a basic guideline for what to include in your thank you letter.

  1. If this is handwritten, include the date, which should be within 48 hours of your interview.
  2. It’s a thank you letter, so start by thanking the recipient for meeting with you.
  3. Make it clear that you are still very excited about the opportunity. Remember, a job interview is also your time to assess whether or not the job is a good fit for you, not just the other way around. Now that you have a clear understanding of the job, they should know that you still want it.
  4. If you forgot to mention vital information that would increase your chances, mention it now.
  5. Include something specific to your interview that personalizes the letter. If the interview itself didn’t include small-talk, bring up job-related bits of the interview that prove you were actively listening.
  6. Let them know you hope to hear back.

International Thank You Letter Customs
I live and work in the U.S. and have only dealt with U.S. employers. I can’t speak from experience, but from what I’ve read, thank you letters are not traditional in Europe and Asia as they make the applicant seem overeager. If you are applying for a job elsewhere, be sure to adhere to local tradition.

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